#ReadWithMarenAndShelby Readathon Wrap-up

On Friday, the #ReadWithMarenAndShelby Readathon, hosted by @marensreads and @allthebooksalltheways started! I hadn’t participated in a readathon for a very long time, so I was very happy to join! 

Over the course of the four days, I focused on getting my reading pile down — I’d love to say it was a collection of new books, but it was a pile of books that I had already started and hadn’t yet finished. When I realized I was reading too many books at once, I knew I had to take action, and a readathon was the perfect way to help! 

I ended up finishing FOUR books during this readathon, none were started fresh, but that’s completely okay because they had to get finished. 

Forever Birchwood by Danielle Daniel was a great read. It’s a middle-grade read about Wolf and her friends who grow up in a small mining town. They have a secret place in their town, surrounded by Birch trees they love to visit that they’ve called Birchwood. Wolf had just learned her great-grandfather was a tree-talker, and she’s interested in exploring her Indigenous roots, but her mom doesn’t want anything to do with it. When Wolf and her friends find evidence that a new subdivision will get built exactly where all the beautiful birch trees are, they take action to try and preserve the heritage and hopefully stop the worst from happening. I loved this book, especially the journey of Wolf’s mother. As a mom myself, I find it easy to lose track of where I came from growing up, but I know that I want to explore that side of life with my kids. I want to fall in love with nature with them and not always look for the next new thing. Whether you love middle-grade books or maybe you have a child in that age range, I would highly recommend reading this book. It was endearing, and understated, and the call to action to protect nature and wildlife is very effective.

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson was a reread for me. Whenever the spooky season rolls around, I have a selection of spooky classics I always want to either read or reread. While I absolutely LOVE the Netflix adaptation of this book, the story is a completely different beast from the show. If you want scares and jumps and love searching for ghosts as I do, the show is wonderful. But if you want a subtle dive into horror, where it almost feels like the horror isn’t there, but then you realize it’s just on the peripheries of your vision, the book is amazing. I really enjoyed going through this book again and seeing what similarities were used in the show, and it was a lot of fun to visit Hill House again. Shirley Jackson is an amazing writer where you find a sense of comfort in reading her stories, but then they take this weird and unexpected turn (The Lottery, anyone?). I do have a few more books by Jackson on my shelf that I’ve yet to read, and I can’t wait to get to them. 

Rise of the Balloon Goons (The Notebook of Doom #1) by Troy Cummings was a book I had bought for my oldest child to read. He’s an avid reader, and so when I went to pick up some books for him from the bookstore that were parts of series he already loves, I thought I’d pick up a couple that were beginnings of series. Unfortunately, my son was not impressed by this book when he read the title, not being a lover of scary books in any way, shape, or form, and he ended up HIDING the book in his room so we couldn’t read it. I found it and read it with my daughter, who loves books like this and I’m happy we did! It’s a fun read about Alexander, who moves to a new town with his dad. He keeps finding these balloon “monsters” around town, but no one believes him when he tries to get help. Eventually, he finds a notebook with the word “DOOM” on it, which contains information about other monsters. Alexander is still navigating his way through being the new kid, but now he has to find a way to fight these monsters. It was a fun read, though I could see why my oldest didn’t want to read it as there is some scary stuff happening, but it is all offset by so much humour (especially with Alexander’s dad) that it ended up being a favourite. I would definitely check out more books in this series to see what other monsters occur in this small town!

Persuasion by Jane Austen is, of course, a classic, and I actually started reading this MONTHS ago, but then other books kept appearing in my reading pile and it kind of fell by the wayside. I’m so glad I picked it back up again to finish and ended up reading the last 150 pages in 2 days. I’ve now read 3 of Jane Austen’s books, and while I do enjoy her books, I wouldn’t say she’s an absolute favourite writer of mine, but I do appreciate her books. I had originally picked this one up so I could finally watch the new Netflix adaptation, and I did thoroughly enjoy it. Honestly, the ending of the story was probably the best. Anne Elliot is a wonderful character, and I did enjoy Captain Wentworth, though we don’t see a lot of him. Ultimately, this isn’t my favourite Austen, but it was a good read, nonetheless. 


Far From The Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy is a classic I’ve been reading for the past THREE MONTHS and have finally finished. I decided to switch to the audiobook yesterday to listen to while I worked and it helped a great deal. This was my very first Thomas Hardy book after being introduced to him via Lucy The Reader on YouTube. I absolutely loved this book. Thomas Hardy is such a great writer and within the first few pages I knew he would be a favourite. The way he writes is very conversational, with humour thrown in and characters who aren’t perfect. I loved the journey of Bathsheba and her suitors. I don’t want to ruin the story for anyone wanting to read it, but I strongly disliked one suitor and very much loved another. All of her suitors were so different, and Bathsheba is a very headstrong, proud, and sometimes stubborn character. This also reads like a serial, so I never felt like I didn’t want to read this. It was really nice to pick up and read a chapter here and a chapter there and delve more into Bathsheba’s life. Hardy is also so descriptive in his writing and I could just picture the surroundings and scenery as I read. Highly recommended if you love to read classics!

This was a great weekend of reading, and I look forward to participating in more readathons in the future! It is definitely nice to be surrounded by other people who also enjoy reading. 

Do you participate in readathons? What readathon do you look forward to every year?

October Reading Wrap-Up & November 2022 TBR

October has flown by in a flash and winter has settled upon the prairies and so it’s time to think about what to read in November!

My household had a great October. We went to an event called Pumpkins After Dark in the city, which was really cool, despite the fact that the advertising made it seem like there would be over 6 000 REAL pumpkins, but they were craft pumpkins. It was still fun to get out and a lot of effort was put into the displays. My kids loved it.

We also had a really good Halloween! Normally, we decorate at least a bit outside but a lot was happening with my husband’s work that it was a whole “will he or won’t he be home for Halloween” thing that we never got around to decorating outside. I did hear one kid come down our driveway saying he LOVED our house, so that was nice. It was a gorgeous night for trick-or-treating, which never happens, so I’m very happy about that.

The day after, winter decided to make its debut, but at least it waited for November to start. I’m not even ready to think about the Christmas season so I think I’ll just lose myself in books for now.

October Reading Wrap-Up

In October, as usual, all I wanted to read were books suited to Halloween. Give me ghosts, haunted houses, witches, demons, and all that is scary, please!

I can honestly say that I loved all of the books I read in October.

  • The best spooky book I read in October was The Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton. There were some real spine-chilling stories in this collection, my favourites being Kerfol and Afterward.
  • The best cover was The Dollhouse. I love illustrated covers and I will admit that the cover is the whole reason I bought the book. The fact that it turned out to be a ghost story AND written by a Canadian author was a bonus.
  • The Ex Hex was the first witchy book I’ve read! I love reading scary books and books themed toward Halloween, but books about witches aren’t something I gravitate towards so I was pleasantly surprised. I’m also happy I picked up the second book in this series and hope I can get to it before next Halloween.
  • The Little Stranger was a reread. I was looking up books about haunted houses and this one came up in my search. It made for a very good reread and is very spooky and gothic. Definitely worth a reread.

My neighbourhood has a Little Free Library and I picked up Guts by Raina Telgemeier — the third book in her Smile series — from it. I loved all of her books that I’ve read and so when I saw this in the box, I snatched it up! I love how Raina tells a story, where it feels like a story, but it’s also autobiographical. It took a different turn from what I was expecting but was a good, quick read. I will be keeping this on my shelf since I think my kids might like her books one day.

I would also highly recommend reading Smile, Sisters, and Ghosts, by Telgemeier.

I wouldn’t say October was my best reading month, but I did read 5 books so that’s nice. The Edith Wharton book was a carryover from September, but I’m happy with my progress.

November 2022 TBR

I honestly can’t believe November is already here and that I have two more months left to read until the new year. It may be premature, but I think that 2023 will be an epic reading year. I hope to continue to grow this blog, grow my Instagram, and get lots of practice in all of the social media since I’ve been away from it for so long. It’s amazing how fast everything changes!

I never seem to have a plan when I go into a new reading month, but for November (and December) I really want to try and finish some of the books I’ve started in the previous months. This includes finishing books I’ve been reading with my kids (we’re in the middle of Pax: Journey Home and The Unicorn in the Barn — plus, my daughter and I are reading The Notebook of Doom: Rise of the Balloon Goons and the first Upside Down Magic book), and finishing the classics I started months ago.

On the plus side, my kids have next week off of school, so maybe we can work on finishing some of these books — but on the downside, they have next week off of school which means less reading time for me.

Currently, I’m reading:

  • Wednesday Wilson Gets Down to Business by Bree Galbraith and Morgan Goble. I’m really enjoying it and think I’ll have to read it with my kids at some point. It reminds me of The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires or Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty.
  • Forever Birchwood by Danielle Daniel. Another book I’m really enjoying. Daniel also has an adult book called Daughters of the Deer which I’m eager to check out. My job has me working with a lot of elementary to middle school teachers so I’ve really been wanting to read more books within that age range.

For the rest of the month, I would love to:

  • Finish reading Far From The Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy. I’m on page 244/448, so just over halfway done. I haven’t picked it up in a while, but I was really enjoying it. It’s my first Thomas Hardy and I really like his style of writing.
  • Reread The Simple Wild by K. A. Tucker. I know this has been made into a 3-book series and I absolutely LOVED the first one so I want to reread it and maybe read the next two.
  • Finally read A Rip Through Time by Kelley Armstrong. I am the biggest Kelley Armstrong fangirl and I’m so far behind in reading her books. The next book in this series just came out so I need to get to this one. November seems like a month for time travel, doesn’t it?
  • Read Written in the Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur. I picked this up months ago when I realized my reading mojo was back and went to buy more books (because the hundreds of unread books on my shelves wouldn’t do) and I am eager to get to it. I also just realized there are currently three books in the series so hopefully I love it and can get the other two!

If all goes as planned, I hope to finish these and the books I’m reading with my kids, which would be 10 books finished in the month. My fingers are crossed!

How did your October go for reading? Do you have any plans for reading in November? I’d love to hear what’s on your reading list below!

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